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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Head Coaching Candidate Greg Gard

With Tod Kowalczyk's departure to Toledo, Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard has become a prominent name in discussions regarding UW-Green Bay's coaching search. And reportedly Bo Ryan felt the need to vouch for Gard's candidacy personally by placing a call to Green Bay's A.D. Ken Bothof.

In the summer of 2008 when Gard earned a promotion to associate head coach, a common assumption was that Bo was taking another step to groom his successor at Wisconsin. Since then, Gard received props from Bo on national television for his prep work that enabled the Badgers to smash Michigan State to pieces at the Kohl Center. By giving Bothof a good recommendation on Gard's behalf, Bo is making no secret that he wants his right-hand man to get a shot at running his own program.

Bo's campaigning makes sense either way you look at it. Even if Bo thought Gard would make a good head coach at Wisconsin, one look at Gard's résumé would show you he's never faced that task before. Perhaps learning from the Bennett-Soderberg-Ryan transition made it clear that a successful head coaching gig would be a must if Gard ever wanted to lead the Badgers some day. If Gard were offered the Green Bay job and accepted -- even after turning down Toledo two years ago -- I suspect this reasoning would be at least part of his motivation. It makes no sense to leave it to chance that some committee or some individual might hold this lack of experience against him down the road.

Losing Gard would be a hit to the program for sure. In addition to doing at least half of the opponent scouting for the Badgers, Gard handles the scheduling and is arguably the program's top recruiter. Gard was the lead recruiter for most of the "Minnesota Badgers" in addition to bringing Rob Wilson, Keaton Nankivil and now Josh Gasser aboard. So, yeah, basically Gard led the charge in building the team's current nucleus.

As far as current recruits, Gard is working with Traevon Jackson for 2011. He has also been alongside Bo watching J.P. Tokoto.

Money will not drive Gard to UW-Green Bay, that's for sure. Above all, Gard is looking for the right fit -- with the whole athletic department and community in question. As I hypothesized over a year ago, Gard is at home in this state and it would not surprise me if he felt the shoe fits this time around. Gard would make a great head coach in my humble opinion, so I am eager to see if UW-Green Bay gives him that chance.

3 comments:

  1. Bob (east lansing)April 2, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    Yeah, that the closest Wisconsin compares to MSU..the Kohl center...have to give kudos for beating us there every time.Having said that this is April and always MSU seems to be the only team playing in the NCAA tourney. I mean Coach Gard and Coach Ryan are good but why does Wisconsin seem to flop in the tourney every year?
    I mean losing to Cornell (high SAT's for sure), losing to Xavier last year...when was the last time that Wisconsin played in a final four(2000?...Coach Bennett). Wish you all the luck in the tourney next year and yeah the highlight of your season will be beating us at Kohl..that's about it.

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  2. Bob, thanks for reading. I think you missed the point of this post by quite a bit. At any rate, I agree that MSU is easily the better program come tournament time. Congrats.

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  3. I've heard some talk that Tony Bennett would be a good candidate to replace Ryan when he retires.

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